Derek Chisora headlines another pay-per-view bill, and he surely is drinking in the last chance saloon as a professional, as he meets former WBO Heavyweight champion, Joseph Parker, over a scheduled 12 rounds.
Chisora (32-10, KO23) always provides entertainment, but has ultimately fallen short at the very top level, and the Zimbabwe born Londoner rolls the dice one last time here in an attempt to gate crash the world title scene.
‘War’ Chisora has been counted out many times, but always seems to put a run together to secure big fights.
Taking on Vitali Klitschko in a bid for the WBC title way back in 2012, and giving a good account of himself in a points loss in what was his first taste of world title level.
‘Del Boy’ has lost ten times in all, but is a former British, Commonwealth and European champion. After losing disappointingly to Kubrat Pulev in May 2016, he then came close to defeating Dillian Whyte, losing a narrow split decision in December of the same year.
Two fights later it looked like the end of the road in a split decision loss to Agit Kabayel in Monaco, but again Chisora breathed new life into his career with a sensational come from behind stoppage of Carlos Takam in August 2018.
A rematch with Whyte followed, but the 37-year-old would suffer a knockout loss in the eleventh round when ahead on two cards.
Again came the rebuild, knocking out former world title challenger, Arthur Szpilka in two in July 2019, before stopping David Price in four in October of the same year.
His last outing came in October last year, dropping a decision loss to the excellent Oleksandr Usyk. He will be under the guidance for his latest assignment by legendary trainer, Buddy McGirt, but whether we see a different Derek come fight night, remains to be seen.
Parker (28-2, KO21) has also attempted to inject some freshness into his camp with the addition of new head trainer, Andy Lee, replacing long term friend and mentor, Kevin Barry.
It’s a good move for the New Zealander, who was in danger of going stale, with his recent performances uninspiring ones.
Parker won the vacant WBO title in 2016, with a majority decision win over Andy Ruiz Jr, and he defended twice before shipping his belt in a unification with Anthony Joshua in Cardiff in March 2018.
He returned and went straight in with Dillian Whyte four months later, and was dropped twice before rallying to drop Whyte in the last round before running out of time to secure a stoppage win, losing on the scorecards.
Parker has won four straight since, but his last one was a flat unanimous win over former amateur rival, Junior Fa in February 2021. He didn’t perform anywhere near his best, and will need to be back to his best against Chisora in Manchester.
Prediction: Parker should be rejuvenated under his new training team, and will want to show the world that he has ironed out mistakes in recent fights.
Chisora will benefit from new eyes in his training team too, but he has had a long hard career with plenty of mileage, and it could prove difficult to add new dimensions to the way that he fights.
Derek always comes to win though, and is a hard man to budge, so I think that the contest will need all twelve rounds. Chisora will come on strong early on, but Parker should then settle into a rhythm, and can win clearly on the scorecards.
An intriguing renewal of old amateur rivalries head the preliminaries, as Katie Taylor (17-0, KO6) and Natasha Jonas (9-1-1, KO7) take each other on for the Irishwoman’s WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO undisputed Lightweight titles.
The pair met as Olympians in 2012, with Taylor coming out on top in a war on the way to a Gold Medal in London.
Their rematch comes over eight years later, and the pair have had contrasting professional careers. Taylor has become a two-weight world champion while Jonas has struggled to succeed and realise her potential in the paid code.
Katie became Lightweight world champion in 2017, outpointing Anahi Ester Sanchez for the vacant WBA belt, and has collected the full set of crowns over the years.
June 2019 saw Taylor go life and death with Delfine Persoon in a classic that made it all four Lightweight crowns, and the Bray native became WBO Super Lightweight champion next, winning a competitive contest with Christina Linardatou on the cards.
After taking an entertaining rematch with Persoon in another close run points win, she was last out in November 2020, dropping Miriam Gutierrez on the way to a landslide points win.
‘Miss GB’ Jonas was on the way to world level, but was stunned by Viviane Obenauf in August 2018, stopped in four rounds.
Three straight wins started the rebuild, and lead to a shot at Terri Harper’s WBC and IBO Super Featherweight titles in August 2020. In a superb advert for the sport, Jonas was unfortunate to be held to a split draw by the champion.
Prediction: Taylor has looked much more human in her last few fights, and Jonas performed to her maximum in a great effort against Harper, but the Liverpudlian is moving up in weight, and facing a mammoth task against Katie here.
After an arm wrestle in the first few rounds, I favour Taylor to pull away down the stretch for a comfortable points win.
More world title action comes at Light Heavyweight, where Dmitry Bivol (17-0, KO11) defends his WBA (Super) title against Crystal Palace’s Craig Richards (16-1-1, KO9).
It’s a massive step up in class for ‘Spider’ Richards, who is coming off an impressive ninth round stoppage of Shakan Pitters in December 2019 to win the British title.
Bivol has been a world champion since 2017, and has barely lost a round, taking points wins against Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Joe Smith Jr and Lenin Castilo in his last four fights.
I think this could be a step up too far for Richards, and Bivol should force a stoppage towards the later rounds.
You would think that Chris Eubank Jr (29-2, KO22) would be mixing at world title level, but his career has plateaued since defeating James DeGale and Matt Korobov in 2019.
He hasn’t been in a ring since, and drops back down to what would be seen as domestic level here, taking on Marcus Morrison (23-3, KO16) over a scheduled ten at Middleweight.
Morrison has rebounded well from three defeats in five fights in 2017 and 2018, and is on a run of seven straight wins, including an impressive away win in Italy, stopping Emanuele Blandamura for the vacant WBC International Silver belt in July 2019.
The Hattersley-based 28-year-old was last out in January 2020, winning a six round decision against the well travelled Darryl Sharp.
This one will be a shootout, with Morrison going for broke early, but Eubank should wear him down in the first four rounds.
The big punching and entertaining James Tennyson (28-3, KO24) goes for the vacant IBO Lightweight title on the bill, and he meets Jovanni Straffon (23-3-1, KO16) of Mexico.
Belfast’s Tennyson has blasted out all six of his opponents since moving to Lightweight, after failing in a bid to win Tevin Farmer’s IBF Super Featherweight title in October 2018, where he was stopped in five.
Straffon is an unknown quantity, but is on a nine fight winning streak and will come to win. Tennyson should get the job done in the first half of the contest.